In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17, many of us with Irish lineage bake traditional recipes to honor our heritage.

Most recipes for Irish Bread call it Irish Soda Bread because it’s made with flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.

Back in olden times in Ireland, superstitious folks would cut a cross on the top of the Soda Bread with a knife because they believed the cross would protect them evil fairies or the Devil.

My favorite recipe, offered here, contains no baking soda, and it’s just called Irish Bread. It has baking powder, caraway seeds and raisins — and it doesn’t protect me from bad fairies. I got the recipe many years ago from the mother of Anne Johnson, a girl I met at my first summer job the year I turned 16.

When I make this recipe, I think of my dear friend and reflect on happy memories of days gone by. It is best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

As an old saying goes:
May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go

Irish Bread
1/3 cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 ½ cup caraway seeds
2/3 cup raisins
¾ cup milk

Cream sugar and shortening; add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fill an Angel cake pan half full
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes
Then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes longer
Spread butter on top while still warm.